I've tried Pilates classes before in a group class, on a mat. A natural move I thought, from yoga mat to pilates mat, but it didn't work out. There was too much neck soreness, and except for the toe pointing stuff that made me feel like a ballet dancer (fun!), there was too much stress and tension.
Private lessons, while pricey (yes, in yoga too) are very much worth it! The machines are really fun and make the sound of chatting sperm whales as they glide back and forth. There are lots of fun loops and straps (some padded with furry fabric!) to thread your arms, legs, feet and hands through. These straps give you something to reach into or away from, and help you find an incredible amount of length. Add to this mix a funny, energetic and experienced teacher (Nathaniel Lee
) and some serious healing is going to take place.
Its very different than yoga. It is not an, "I feel like I am going to cry because my body/mind/soul/breath are all in harmony!", feeling that can happen in yoga. Nathaniel says it's because we are working on one thing (our middles) while yoga works on a myriad of things.
Pilates more subtle, and feels like you are doing the not seen but most important foundation stuff. Like if you hire a contractor who needs to do a ton of work behind your walls, where no one will really notice, but your house will fall down without. Its not flashy, but its solid, and stretchy too, a place where I hope to be heading.